A “Hard” Bodyweight Workout


Someone asked me recently “if the bodyweight conditioning routine on your website is an easy workout, then what does your BJJ coach, Marcus Soares, consider a hard workout”?

With Marcus every warmup workout is different, although generally the sequence he uses goes something like this:

  1. arm and chest exercises
  2. leg exercises
  3. neck strengthening
  4. abdominal conditioning.

Every workout he does is tough (and they get even worse before a competition). Also for a while we were training at a place that had a lot of small dumbells (2 to 10 lbs) available, and the exercises that he made us do were just brutal.

To give you an idea of what a typical tough workout is I’ve written down a routine that he made us do a few days ago. I’d be lying if I said I did every repetition – I’ve only seen a few people do an entire Marcus workout perfectly, and they were all 160 lbs or less.

  • Jumping Jacks c. 3 minutes
  • 5 sets of 20 pushups and 20 “jumps”, for 100 pushups and jumps in total. Jumps are basically partial squat thrusts: keep your hands on the floor and hop your feet from being close to your hands to a pushup position (i.e. photos 2, 3, and 4 of this exercise without standing up).
  • 50 Chinese pushups (Exercise 3 in Marcus’s ‘easy’ workout)
  • 100 mountain climbers – start in a low sprinter’s starting position, both hands on the ground, one leg bent and forward, the other straight and backwards. One count involves jumping and switching legs (forward leg goes back back leg goes forward) and then jumping and switching legs again.
  • Standing stretching forward and back
  • Bodyweight squats for 3 minutes (I did c. 130 squats) – go from standing straight-legged to a low squat position with your back upright. The picture below illustrates the final position:

  • 15 sets of a compound exercise where you do 3 partial squats and one jump up into the air, feet clearing the ground. For the partial squats go to a low squat position (pictured above) and bob your but up and down by c. 6 inches, but never straighten your legs. Leap up from this position as well.
  • Hold the low squat position 1 minute
  • Stretching: stand and place your legs apart, bend at the waist to touch the left leg, and then the right leg
  • Neck bridging: 30 front and 30 back. Neck bridging was discussed in this tip – I did other neck exercises instead).
  • Seated butterfly stretch
  • 50 x straight situps, feet on ground (I did crunches instead)
  • 30 x modified V ups: lie on back and lift legs to 45 degrees off the ground. Now lift your torso towards your legs and simultaneously open your legs to form ‘V’ – at the top of this movement only your buttocks are on the ground.
  • 30 x modified V ups. Similar to above: start lying on your back and start flutter kicking your legs up and down. Maintaining the fluttering motion bring your torso off the ground towards your legs and return it to the floor 30 times.
  • 50 x modified leg lifts. Start in a V-up position with your hands on ground and your back and legs off the floor. Your legs move in a “V” (i.e. up to the left, down to the middle, up to the right), remaining straight for all 50 reps.
  • 50 x modified leg lifts: sit as above (hands and butt on ground, legs and back off the ground). Now pump your legs in (bring feet towards butt) and then out (legs straight and in the air) 50 times.
  • 15 x teeter totter stretch (the last exercise in Marcus’s ‘easy’ workout)

This entire routine is done at a fast pace with no rest between exercises other than the designated stretches. Good luck getting through it!

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